The 2023/24 Premier League season is just around the corner and whilst fans of a small number of sides may be wondering whether or not their club can win the title, the first target for most teams in the top flight remains survival. The PL is a division of two, and possibly three, separate mini-leagues and sadly, for at least 10 clubs, getting to 40 points, or whatever turns out to be enough to secure top-flight survival, is all that really matters.
So, in this feature, rather than asking whether anyone can stop City, we are looking at the relegation battle. The transfer window remains open for some time yet and all PL clubs will be hoping to bolster their squads before it closes. As such, much could change, but based on how things look right now, these are our thoughts on the 2023/34 Premier League relegation battle. And let’s start with the odds!
EPL Relegation Odds
|Team||Odds to be Relegated||Odds to Finish Bottom||Odds to Stay Up|
We have shown the odds for all of the teams who are priced in single-digit prices to go down. To those unused to betting on relegation, it may seem strange that whilst Bournemouth are third favourites for relegation, they are still, in a sense, big favourites to stay up! By which we mean that whilst they are reckoned by the bookies to be the team that will fill the third relegation spot, odds of just 4/11 for them to stay up mean that betting sites also think they are far more likely to stay in the Premier League than drop out of it.
That is simply a reflection of the fact that whilst three teams go down, 17 stay up. Given that simple fact, even the very worst teams in the top flight should at least have a fighting chance of survival. That said, with 10 teams priced at 8/1 or less to go down, and eight at no more than 7/2, this could be a really tight, tense and unpredictable relegation battle.
Luton Surely Doomed
The Hatters have performed a minor miracle to make it back to the top flight after so many years in the wilderness, if we can call the lower leagues that. It should not be forgotten that in 2014 they were in the Conference Premier, the fifth tier of English football. Moreover, they operate on a tiny, tiny budget and their ground holds little more than 10,000 fans. They are the clear favourites for the drop but many will feel that even at odds of just 1/3 they offer solid value.
They came up last term via the play-offs, having finished the normal season third, some 11 points behind Sheffield United and a whopping 21 behind champions Burnley. Given Burnley have spent more money, have a manager that is very highly regarded and boast recent Premier League experience, and yet are still ranked as a 5/2 shot for relegation, what chance do the Hatters have? Should they once more finish 21 points behind the Lancashire outfit then relegation is all-but certain.
On the flip side, they may feel they can play without pressure given just how many people expect them to be relegated. In addition, they ended last season superbly well, have a very good manager in Rob Edwards, and will have great unity and fighting spirit. Even so, however, it is hard to avoid the feeling they will be outclassed and we have to predict an instant return to the Championship.
Other Promoted Sides Sure to be in the Mix
In 2022/23 we saw three big clubs relegated from the Premier League, in Southampton, Leeds and Leicester. That, however, meant that all three of the promoted teams, Fulham, Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest, stayed up. In fact, they did so in some style, ending 10th, 15th and 16th respectively. We definitely do not see more of the same this time around though and, in fact, all three newly promoted going down is far from improbable.
Many fancy Burnley to stay up, largely due to their stellar campaign last term and high-profile boss. But there are reasons to believe that 5/2 for them to go down is big. Kompany still lacks experience as a manager and whilst the side he coaches were fine as a big fish in a smaller pond, financially, things are very different in the Premier League. What’s more, they face a heavy burden of expectation, with some even talking about them as outsiders for a top-eight finish.
As for Sheffield United, manager Paul Heckingbottom has done superbly well but their lack of activity in the transfer market is a concern. There is time to address that but their squad looks a little thin and lacks class in key areas. They may survive but a long, hard season seems almost guaranteed.
Everton, Wolves and Bournemouth all Tempting
The Toffees have survived by the skin of their teeth in the last two seasons and such close scrapes often precede relegation. Financial constraints mean they cannot sign too many new players and with a number of last season’s squad departed, those at Sean Dyche’s disposal are up against it. In their favour they have a top-class manager who has proven experience of fighting relegation against the odds, but 3/1 still looks generous.
As for Wolves, they too look to have serious financial issues and if they lose boss Julen Lopetegui, as seems increasingly likely, they may really struggle. They need Matheus Cunha to prove far more effective than he did last term and have lost some very good players in Ruben Neves and Nathan Collins, as well as Raul Jimenez.
Another team well worth considering for the drop are Bournemouth, who bizarrely sacked Gary O’Neil after he performed a minor miracle kept them up, doing so with ease in the end. They felt Andoni Iraola would be better placed to take them forward but whilst Basque-Spanish managers may be in fashion, appointing a man with no experience of English football has to be seen as a huge risk. Over the years many clubs have been promoted, stayed up and then been relegated the following campaign and the Cherries could well be the latest.